Phi Beta Cons

Are Campus Bureaucrats Incapable of Respecting Free Speech?

That often seems to be the case. As administrative bloat on campuses has increased in recent decades, so has encroachment by university busybodies. After all, such bureaucrats need to justify their paychecks. So they create diversity offices, multicultural awareness initiatives, freshman indoctrination “orientation” programs, and so forth, which often are hostile to free speech. They also craft student conduct regulations, many of which violate students’ First Amendment rights.

In today’s Pope Center feature, Stephanie Keaveney reports on a case at NC State University involving the school’s overly broad regulation of student “solicitation,” defined by administrators as “distribution of leaflets, brochures or other written material, or oral speech to a passerby, conducted without intent to obtain commercial or private pecuniary gain.” Want to, for instance, pass out copies of the U.S. Constitution? Not so fast. You’ll need prior university approval.

A Christian student group at NC State, aided by the Alliance Defending Freedom, has brought suit against the university in federal court, and the court has issued a preliminary injunction against the “solicitation” policy.

“Despite the judge finding that the student group…is likely to succeed in overturning the campus policy, and that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm if the policy were to remain in place, NCSU has stood by its policy,” writes Keaveney. NCSU, with its less than stellar free speech record, will likely settle or lose this case. And to what end? It is spending taxpayer money defending a policy that, in practice, deprives students of their free speech rights.”

Read the full article here.

Jesse Saffron — Jesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...

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